Reps reject life pension for Senate President, Speaker, Deputies
Members of the House of Representatives has rejected the life pension Bill proposed for the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and their deputies.
A total of 193 votes were cast by the members while 162 rejected the Bill. 3 reps members abstained.
The National Assembly’s Joint Special Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution which laid its report containing 68 recommendations in the respective chambers on Wednesday has recommended the life pension amendment.
Recommendation 16 reads, “That the House does receive the report of the Special Ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution on a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide Pension for Presiding Officers of the National Assembly; and for Related Matters.”
Already Section 84(5) of the Nigerian constitution guarantees life pension for all former Presidents and Vice-Presidents, a cost which gulps an average of N7.8bn yearly.
The provision in the constitution reads, “Any person who has held office as President or Vice-President shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Vice-President: Provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any provisions of this constitution.”
Such amendment was however proposed in 2016. The erstwhile deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke in favour of the proposal at the time said that principal officers of the two chambers should be entitled to life pension after their tenure.
Mr. Ekweremadu, who was the chairman, Senate Ad hoc Committee on review of 1999 constitution, said it was necessary for the presiding officers to enjoy such benefits.
“This has nothing to do with an individual. It is about the institution. Let us not politicise it. Nobody elected the Chief Justice of Nigeria, but he enjoys pension.
“But if we cheapen our own institution, so be it. Let us not make this a personal thing,” he said.
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